Newport Harbor High claimed its third straight Sunset League girls’ tennis title this season, but Coach Kristen Case’s Sailors would like to bask a little longer in the postseason sun.
The Tars (17-2) are the No. 1 seed in the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs to highlight four Newport-Mesa entries competing in three divisions, all beginning Thursday.
The Sailors will play host to either Esperanza or Temple City, which square off in the wild-card round today at 2 p.m.
Corona del Mar (14-5), which saw its string of 11 straight Pacific Coast League titles halted this season by University, is joined by Estancia in the Division I field.
Coach Brian Ricker’s Sea Kings are at home Thursday against Tesoro (10-8), which tied for second in the South Coast League.
Estancia, which emerged from a three-way tie for second place in the Orange Coast League to become the league’s No. 2 playoff representative, is also at home, entertaining Louisville (9-4) which tied for second in the Mission League.
Sage Hill (15-6), the runner-up to No. 3-seeded St. Margaret’s in the Academy League, will play host to Etiwanda (12-7), the runner-up in the Baseline League, in a Division III first-round clash at The Tennis Club Newport Beach.
Newport Harbor, keyed by Sunset doubles champions Rickie Archie and Christiana Young, a pair of juniors who have fashioned a 42-2 record this season, lost in the second round last season to Arcadia.
The Sailors also rely on the doubles tandems of Megan Bathen and Mindy Wheeler (No. 2) and Alex Aiello and Riley Mathies (No. 3), who finished second and third, respectively, in the Sunset League doubles tournament.
Natalie Cernius was the Sunset League runner-up in singles for the Tars.
CdM advanced to the Division I semifinals last season, after consecutive trips to the Division title match in 2006, ’07 and ' 08. CdM, paced by Purdue-bound senior singles standout Lynda Xepoleas, won the Division I crown in 2006.
Sage Hill had reached the semifinals seven of the last eight seasons, including last year, when it was upset by Rio Mesa. Coach A.G. Longoria’s Lightning have reached at least the quarterfinals every year since the varsity program began in 2000.
But Division III presents a new challenge for the Lightning, who are on track to collide with No. 4-seeded Redlands in the Nov. 16 quarterfinals.
Juniors Katie Bick and Rian Billingsley won the Academy League doubles title for the Lightning.
Estancia’s 6-4 league record matched that of Costa Mesa and Calvary Chapel. But the tiebreaking procedure eliminated Costa Mesa, leaving Calvary Chapel to claim the league’s third and final guaranteed playoff berth.
There was only one at-large entry in the Division I field.
Santa Barbara (No. 2), Chadwick (No. 3) and Diamond Bar (No. 4) are the other seeded entries in Division II.
The second round for all the locals would be Saturday. The semifinals are scheduled Nov. 18, with the finals set for Nov. 22 at the Claremont Club.